Reduced habit-driven errors in Parkinson's Disease

Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 4;9(1):3423. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-39294-z.


Parkinson's Disease can be understood as a disorder of motor habits. A prediction of this theory is that early stage Parkinson's patients will display fewer errors caused by interference from previously over-learned behaviours. We test this prediction in the domain of skilled typing, where actions are easy to record and errors easy to identify. We describe a method for categorizing errors as simple motor errors or habit-driven errors. We test Spanish and English participants with and without Parkinson's, and show that indeed patients make fewer habit errors than healthy controls, and, further, that classification of error type increases the accuracy of discriminating between patients and healthy controls. As well as being a validation of a theory-led prediction, these results offer promise for automated, enhanced and early diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Habits*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology